£50K awarded to enhance social prescribing to nature, arts and physical activities in Dorset

New partnership project to improve the health and wellbeing of Dorset residents.

(C) - Centre for Ageing Better

A new partnership, led by The Arts Development Company, celebrates securing £50K to embed green social prescribing in health care. The project will improve the health and wellbeing of Dorset residents by increasing availability and referrals to landscape themed activities involving arts, nature and physical activity.

The project is designed to empower healthcare providers to support communities to access and enjoy landscape themed activities. To achieve this The Arts Development Company teamed up with project partners Stepping into Nature, Help & Care and Active Dorset. The activities will help people meet like-minded others, learn new skills and feel happier and healthier.

Julie Hammon, Stepping into Nature Project Coordinator said:

“We know that access to nature can be a lifeline for individuals and communities. Our varied programme of landscape-themed activities will see 150 community groups benefit from green social prescribing. We are delighted to have been awarded the money from the Thriving Communities Fund. It will help us extend our reach and support some of the most vulnerable in Dorset.”

The Greenwood Club, a community group that enjoy being outdoors. Photo by Paul Mitchell

The partnership aims to provide online or face-to-face learning and information on benefits of nature, arts and physical activity for wellbeing. They will work with local organisations to identify community groups to receive training, taster sessions and support towards becoming more inclusive. Social prescribers will also receive support to understand and experience the opportunities available locally, enabling them to communicate better with communities about what is available and the wellbeing benefits that can be gained from taking part.

A new network of Nature Buddies will be launched to help support people living with high anxiety or low confidence. A Nature Buddy will be a volunteer whose role is to support individuals at a very personalised level to help gradually increase their confidence and ability to enjoy engaging with nature again. A nature buddy will find what suits to the person best and will support them on their journey to living happier and healthier.

Jo March, Arts Development Company said:

“We are excited and proud to be awarded this grant from the funding partners National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Natural England and Historic England and look forward to working with our project partners and link workers, as well as local organisations, to deliver what we hope will be a sustainable approach to social prescribing embedded in local communities across the Dorset area.”

Activities to do outdoors, draw a picture, write a poem, create a story...

The pandemic has affected communities, isolating people from family, friends, activities that previously supported them. The impact of nature and participation in arts, nature and physical activities on wellbeing has never been so important.

If you would like to find out more or would like to get involved then please contact Jo March on 01305 228528 or jo@theartsdevelopmentcompany.org.uk